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Lord Grocott: My Lords, we are all familiar by now with the short interregnum as we send these proceedings and our decisions back to the democratic House, to see what judgment they make on behalf of their constituents and the national interest. I assume that as soon as the business returns here, we shall put an announcement on the Annunciator in the normal way. It is unpredictable quite how long it will take, of course. I beg to move that the House do now adjourn during pleasure.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

[The Sitting was suspended from 11.26 p.m. to 5 a.m.]

[For continuation of proceedings, see Part 2.]
 
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Part 2

5 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker (Lord Brougham and Vaux): My Lords, I have to announce that in Divisions 1 to 3, and 6 and 7 earlier this evening, the number voting "Not Content" should in each case be increased by one.

COMMONS AMENDMENTS AND REASONS

[The page and line refer to HL Bill 34 as first printed for the Lords.]

A message was brought from the Commons, That they do not insist on certain amendments to which the Lords have disagreed and propose amendments in lieu to which they desire the agreement of your Lordships; they insist on their amendments to the words to be restored to the Bill, to which they desire the agreement of your Lordships; they insist on their amendments in lieu, to which they desire the agreement of your Lordships; they insist on their disagreement to certain other Lords amendments; and they insist on the amendments in lieu thereof to which they desire the agreement of your Lordships; they insist on certain amendments to Lords amendments disagreed to by the Lords; they insist on their disagreement to certain amendments to Lords amendments; they insist on their disagreement to certain other Lords amendments and Lords amendments in lieu.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I beg to move that the Commons reasons and amendments be considered forthwith.

Moved, That the Commons reasons and amendments be considered forthwith.—(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

MOTION A

Lord Falconer of Thoroton rose to move, That this House do not insist on its disagreement with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 1A and 1B to Lords Amendment No. 1; do not insist on its Amendments Nos. 37Q to 37T in lieu of Lords Amendment No. 8 to which the Commons have disagreed; do not insist on its insistence on Lords Amendments Nos. 12, 13, 15, 17, 22, 28 and 37 in respect of which the Commons have insisted on their disagreement and do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 37A to 37C and 37E to 37O in lieu of those Lords Amendments; do not insist on its disagreement with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 17H to 17M to the words restored to the Bill by the Commons insistence on their disagreement to Lords Amendment No. 17; and do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 37V in lieu.

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, Motion A covers Lords Amendments Nos. 1, 8, 12, 13, 15, 17, 22, 28 and 37. The Marshalled List reveals the
 
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position to be exactly as it was the previous time we considered these matters. The Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives propose nothing except what has been proposed by the House before. Therefore, if the House supports that approach, no progress whatever is being made on the issues.

We know that the three issues are in essence: burden of proof; whether there should be a committee of Privy Councillors or an independent reviewer; and whether there should be a sunrise clause—

Noble Lords: Sunset.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Sunset clause, my Lords. It will soon be sunrise!

We all know that the purpose and role of the House is to scrutinise legislation; not to block it. On the three issues that I have identified the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives in this House will not engage. On a significant number of major issues in relation to the Bill the Government have listened and proposed substantial changes in another place. I went through the examples on the previous occasion. Perhaps as many as 80 per cent of this House's requests have been met.

But now we are in a different situation. In the eight years that I have been in this House I have never seen a situation where a Bill of this importance was blocked by this House on the three issues that I have identified. What has happened is that the House believes, despite the clearest possible message from the Commons, that the view this House has expressed on the three issues must be complied with.

It goes further than that. Unless agreement is reached by the Commons to those three issues, this House is saying that we will block a piece of legislation, the urgency of which is apparent to everyone and has been accepted by the Commons; and the content of which significantly affects the national interest. This House may be right; it may be wrong, but there is absolutely no doubt that when there is such a disagreement this House will give way to the Commons. It is a view that has informed the Liberal Democrats always. It is a view that has informed the approach of the Conservatives always. I am quite unable to understand why there has suddenly been a change in the approach of this House to issues such as this.

The reason why we give way to the Commons is that the Commons are the democratically elected Chamber; unlike this place, every single Member of the Commons is accountable to their constituency for what they are doing about national security. However little we like it, ultimately we have to give way to the Commons. Something is happening that is unusual and different about this Bill. I respectfully ask the House that the time has come to give way and accept the view of the House of Commons. I beg to move.

Moved, That this House do not insist on its disagreement with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 1A and 1B to Lords Amendment No. 1; do not insist on its Amendments Nos. 37Q to 37T in lieu of
 
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Lords Amendment No. 8 to which the Commons have disagreed; do not insist on its insistence on Lords Amendments Nos. 12, 13, 15, 17, 22, 28 and 37 in respect of which the Commons have insisted on their disagreement and do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 37A to 37C and 37E to 37O in lieu of those Lords Amendments; do not insist on its disagreement with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 17H to 17M to the words restored to the Bill by the Commons insistence on their disagreement to Lords Amendment No. 17; and do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 37V in lieu.—(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)

Lord Goodhart rose to move, as an amendment to Motion A, leave out from "House" to end and insert "do insist on its disagreement with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 1A and 1B to Lords Amendment No. 1; do insist on its Amendments Nos. 37Q to 37T in lieu of Lords Amendment No. 8 to which the Commons have insisted on their disagreement; do insist on its insistence on Lords Amendments Nos. 12, 13, 15, 17, 22, 28 and 37 in respect of which the Commons have insisted on their disagreement and do insist on their disagreement with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 37A to 37C and 37E to 37O in lieu of those Lords Amendments; do insist on their disagreement with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 17H to 17M to the words restored to the Bill by the Commons insistence on their disagreement to Lords Amendment No. 17; and do disagree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 37V in lieu.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor has said that the Government have given us 80 per cent of what we asked for; the figure I would suggest would be more like 8 per cent. I have never in my experience now for some years in your Lordships' House found ourselves debating at five o'clock in the morning a ping-pong which has been thrown back at us at three o'clock in the morning by the House of Commons. This is taking place in front of full Benches at five o'clock in the morning. There is something quite extraordinary about that. I believe that it is because this is seen by those of us on these Benches and on the Conservative Benches as a constitutional issue of great importance.

The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor said there were three issues involved here: the burden of proof, the committee of Privy Counsellors and the sunset clause. Let me remind him that there is another equally or perhaps even more important issue—that judges and not the Home Secretary should make control orders. We accept, as we have always said, that control orders are necessary at least for the time being and that we will assist as we can in achieving a control order system that is fair and just and effective. But it is surely a constitutional issue of the utmost importance that decisions which are restrictive of the liberty of the individual should be taken by the judiciary on the application of the Home Secretary and not by the Home Secretary. To allow executive decisions to lead to infringements of liberty is the beginning of a downward path which leads where we dare not think.
 
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We believe that this is absolutely essential. That is why it is our duty as we see it to stand up for what we believe is an important constitutional issue. At the other end of this Palace we have a House where a party that received 40 per cent of the vote at the last general election has 60 per cent of the seats.


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